More than 200  guests from the community are expected to be in attendance to celebrate the grand opening of the newly expanded Ronald McDonald House tomorrow, Tuesday, September 23 including local dignitaries, Children’s Hospital executives, donors, volunteers and families..  The ribbon cutting event completes an eighteen-month construction project that nearly doubled the size of the existing House.  With the expansion completed, the House will feature 70 guest rooms along with remodeled and expanded common facilities including a music therapy room, a fitness center, study rooms and new kitchens for families, as well as the Family Meal program.
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On September 20th we will hold our 30th Anniversary Celebration in the newly expanded Ronald McDonald House!  Over 400 people have already registered for what will surely be one of our most exciting events.  Taking place on three floors in our new expansion wing, the event will feature food stations highlighting regional dishes from some of our guests’ home towns.  We’ve had so much interest in this event that registration is now closed, however we are currently compiling a waitlist.  If you would like to be added to the list please contact Judy McGauran at (414) 475-0263.

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If you’ve been to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin recently, you may have noticed a few construction barrels, cones, trucks and cranes. Our Milwaukee hospital campus is in the thick of Zoo Interchange construction. Yesterday we celebrated a major milestone in the project – the opening of the Watertown Plank Road pedestrian sky bridge – one of many improvements the construction project is bringing to our area.

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I remember when I was nine years-old and we had a Pop Tab house in my third grade classroom. We used to get so excited to add a Pop Tab to the collection house after lunch. Most kids love to collect things, such as stuffed animals, rocks, marbles (and sometimes bugs). So why not Pop Tabs? Encouraging a collection is a great way to encourage thinking skills. I was always excited to see the collection add up and the anticipation of filling up the house became the highlight of my week. I knew that I was helping to reach a goal that was for a good cause, but like most third graders I was too young to understand. To help us further comprehend what we were working towards, our grade school took a field trip to the Ronald McDonald House in Hinsdale, IL. My friend’s mom was a volunteer at the House and I remember my classmates and I were ecstatic to see one of our room moms there!

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Interning as a Special Events intern at the Ronald McDonald House has been a very rewarding experience.

I am a senior at Marquette University, majoring in Social Welfare and Justice and Communication Studies, and this position allows me to combine aspects of both majors.

This is also my first internship, and I am so grateful it has been here. From working on auction and raffles at various special events, such as Rock-the-House and Golf Classic, I have learned just how much work goes into pulling off a successful event. The House is also represented at Summerfest and the Wisconsin State Fair, which allows our organization to share information and interact with the community. These events are great opportunities to have a fun time while also helping a great cause. As Jenny noted in her blog post in early July, there are always volunteers around and they are extremely important to fulfilling the House’s mission. Their willingness to help not only for internal House activities but also for special events is a huge asset. The attendees to these events can go home with awesome items- we have had everything from a 42 inch TV and sports and concert tickets at the large events, to food coupons and children’s toys at the smaller events.

Every day I am at the House I am doing something different, and I am learning to thrive in this type of environment. The team that I work with has been incredibly helpful and informative. The tasks and projects that we work on are very enjoyable. I love sitting in on meetings with the purpose of taking notes and learning as much as I can. I have developed computer skills like proficiency in Microsoft Access and WordPress, along with professional skills related to communicating with donors and staying organized, which will benefit me in the job market.

The next big event is our 30th Anniversary Gala on September 20th, and I am so excited to be on the team working on it!

An internship position is currently open on our operations team! If you (or someone you know) are interested in an internship learning about family services and volunteer management, contact Heather Egerer at

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Here is a recipe inspired by our RMH Secret Garden 2014 August vegetable harvest!  Read my blog about our raised beds and square foot vegetable gardening.  Learning to grow good, healthy food and being friends is what we do!

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July is birthday month at our house. We decided to do a joint birthday party with family and friends in the middle of the month for both of our kids. After seeing an inspiring blog post by a fellow Red Shoe Friend, we decided to encourage our guests to bring a small item from the Ronald McDonald House Wish List. Many of the items on the wish list are small, but as we all know, a little goes a long way. These things help the families feel a little closer to home.
Our five year old has some experience with being at Children’s for a minor surgery. We explained to her that there are some kids that go there because they are very sick, and sometimes their families have to stay across the street. It was easy and fun to explain to her that we were asking our friends to bring things to those families to help them out and make them smile. That, in turn, brought a smile to her face.
My children and I will be dropping off the laundry basket of items we collected at the House next week. I am so looking forward to seeing the pride in their faces when we deliver these items. This will be a tradition we continue in the years to come.

Jessica Miller is a member of the “Red Shoe Friends”, a volunteer group that supports and serves as an ambassador for the Ronald McDonald House through personal giving, fundraising and event support. She and her husband have two children ages 5 and 3.

The Ronald McDonald House has been such a blessing for our family! Our six-month-old needed open heart surgery. That, of course, caused a lot of anxiety and stress. Being able to have a place to truly rest and have fun with our toddler was such a help. I thought the Ronald McDonald House was…a house. It has blown me away! Home-cooked meals, lunches ready to go, an amazing playroom, playground, beautiful and peaceful garden, and a clean and cozy room. It was SO much more than we expected! It made our lives so much less stressful during a challenging time. Thank you!

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It was my son’s first time he was going to be staying here. I told him we were going to stay at the Ronald McDonald House and he replied, “Old McDonald has a farm, not a house!” After my short moment of laughter, I said, “He’s so awesome he has a house, too!” While we were here, he had so much fun. When we had to be back at the hospital two weeks later, Carson saw me crying at the thought of having my youngest, Dylan, flighted back to the hospital only nine days after we had been discharged. Carson leaned over to me and said, “It’s okay, we can stay at Old McDonald’s House ‘cause it is so fun there and we can play!” It made me smile.

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During our almost nine-week stay at the Ronald McDonald House, I was continuously impressed with all of the donations that came in. During the last week we were there, we saw that there were Brewers tickets available for an afternoon game, so my husband went into the office to see about them. We were very surprised to find out that these were suite tickets with parking included. After my husband did some research online, he found that the donated tickets gave him the option of having something put up on the scoreboard. He sent an email and received a reply that the message would be displayed.

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